Cost concerns lead to delay in Nigeria’s HPV vaccination plan


Nigeria’s newest goal for introducing a life-saving vaccine towards cervical most cancers has been branded unrealistic by well being specialists as value issues have but to be addressed, leaving 1000’s of Nigerian girls in danger.

In accordance with the Worldwide Company for Analysis on Most cancers, cervical most cancers ranks because the second most frequent most cancers amongst girls in Nigeria.

The human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine helps forestall the illness, which brought on about 342,000 deaths in 2020 — about 90 per cent of them in low- and middle-income international locations — in line with the World Well being Group (WHO).

In November 2020, Nigerian well being minister Osagie Ehanire, in a keynote speech at a nationwide stakeholders’ discussion board on the elimination of cervical most cancers in Nigeria, mentioned the nation would introduce the HPV vaccination into its nationwide immunization schedule by 2021.

Two years later, the vaccine has but to be rolled out, resulting in skepticism {that a} new date introduced by Faisal Shuaib, government director of Nigeria’s Nationwide Main Well being Care Growth Company, would even be missed.

Shuaib, had on 14 July introduced a revised date to introduce HPV vaccines for Nigerians aged 9 to 14 into the nation’s expanded immunization program by the second quarter of 2023.

Throughout an occasion to mark World Most cancers Day, Ehanire mentioned that Nigeria had met the circumstances for assist from Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance to introduce the HPV vaccine into its nationwide immunization scheme.

The WHO has acknowledged its dedication to assist Nigeria’s HPV vaccine rollout, in line with Walter Mulombo, WHO nation consultant to Nigeria. Talking on the occasion, he mentioned the WHO would work with the Nationwide Main Well being Care Growth Company to implement the plan.

“The main disadvantage is the massive value of the vaccine,” Francis Durosinmi-Etti, advisor radiation and medical oncologist at Lagos College Educating Hospital’s Most cancers Centre, informed SciDev.Web.

However he added: “It could even be attainable to solicit the help of WHO in negotiating specifically discounted costs for Nigeria from the producers.”

He means that the federal government might enhance entry to the vaccine by subsidizing the fee by way of the Nationwide Well being Insurance coverage Authority.

Tunji Akintade, medical director of Hamaab Medical Centre, Lagos, and former chairman of the Affiliation of Normal and Personal Medical Practitioners of Nigeria, is worried that the Nigerian authorities may delay together with HPV vaccines in itsthe immunization program due to the excessive burden of infectious illnesses, that are prioritized in public well being coverage.

Left behind

Most cancers specialists in Nigeria fear that the nation is being left behind within the HPV vaccination scheme regardless of the prevalence of cervical most cancers.

Developed international locations are already vaccinating their boys, which implies they’ve completed vaccinating ladies.”

Hadiza Amanabo, program supervisor at Medicaid Most cancers Basis, in Abuja, Nigeria

Ifeoma Okoye, a professor of radiation drugs on the College of Nigeria, Nsukka, in Enugu State, tellsSciDev.Web that presently the vaccines are solely accessible in a couple of non-public well being amenities at a value that’s above the attain of most Nigerians.

She mentioned authorities had tried to check the vaccine in a number of native authorities areas in Abakaliki and Abuja, whereas the Nationwide Main Well being Care Growth Company had ready a coverage doc on HPV vaccine implementation, however the shot was not but included in routine vaccinations.

“Whereas authorities efforts are crucial within the combat towards cervical most cancers, all companions, company teams and different stakeholders should urgently assist measures aimed toward eliminating the illness in Nigeria,” mentioned Okoye.

“Immunisation towards HPV an infection, coupled with screening and therapy, is the most effective technique to scale back the burden of cervical most cancers.”

Magnifique Irakoze, obstetrician and gynecologist on the College Educating Hospital of Kigali, Rwanda, tells SciDev.Web that good well being outcomes can’t be achieved as a stand-alone program.

She means that African international locations ought to emulate Rwanda by integrating their HPV vaccine applications with different initiatives equivalent to schooling and social-economic empowerment.

“Most African international locations ratified the WHO objective to eradicate cervical most cancers by 2030, ” mentioned Irakoze.

“This may be achieved if international locations cowl a 90 per cent vaccination price for HPV alongside different measures.”

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